Today, Patriots left defensive end Ty Warren is turning 30 years old.
Warren, the 13th overall pick of the 2003 NFL Draft, has been a bit of a forgotten commodity, having missed the entire 2010 season with a nagging hip injury. Since arriving on the scene more than seven years ago, Warren has been a mainstay at left defensive end for the Patriots. While he has primarily been used as a run stuffer, the 6'5" 300 lbs Texas A & M product has the ability to rush the passer, as evidenced by his 7.5 sacks in 2006.
Currently, you could say that the Patriots have a bit of a log-jam at left defensive end. Typically in the NFL (and especially in the 3-4), left defensive ends are known for their prowess stopping the run, as NFL offenses tend to run the ball with a greater frequency to the right size. Therefore, "beefier" players are sometimes needed on the left (defensive perspective) side. The Patriots already have some big options in Ron Brace (6'3", 330 lbs) and impending free agent Gerard Warren (6'4", 330 lbs). With Brandon Deaderick and Mike Wright seemingly the only "true" right defensive ends on the roster, could the Patriots contemplate a possible move with Ty Warren?
Warren has the length you want from a right defensive end at 6'5", and he definitely has the athleticism as well. In addition, he also has some good versatility, having played some nose tackle in his rookie year. Switching over and playing some right end could also alleviate the pressure off of a rookie, should the Patriots spend a draft pick on the position.
In the end, it doesn't necessarily matter what position Ty Warren is playing. The fact is, Patriots fans should be excited to have him back and healthy. He's one of the NFL's most underrated players, and is a leader both on and off the field for the team. Combine his return with that of Leigh Bodden, and you've got an instantly upgraded defensive unit for the 2011 New England Patriots.